Chicago can't get enough of Jackie Robinson West.
And the city is getting the opportunity to show just how much it appreciates the U.S. Little League World Series champions with a parade and two rallies Wednesday, plus some fireworks to top things off.
The festivities begin at 9 a.m. with a neighborhood rally at Jackie Robinson Park, located at 10540 S. Morgan St.
The parade kicks off at 10 a.m., working its way to Millennium Park for another rally at 11 a.m.
Lollapalooza headliner and popular South Side musician Chance the Rapper tweeted Tuesday that he will introduce the team at Millenium Park.
The procession will proceed along the following route:
- Northbound on Aberdeen to 105th
- East on 105th to Halsted
- Northbound on Halsted from 105th to 35th Street
- Eastbound on 35th Street to Indiana
- Northbound on Indiana to 31st Street
- Merge onto northbound Michigan Ave.
- Northbound on Michigan Ave to Randolph
Fans are encouraged to gather at the following locations to cheer the team on:
- 103rd and Halsted
- 95th and Halsted
- 87th and Halsted
- 79th and Halsted
- U.S. Cellular Field
Another fireworks display is planned for Wednesday night at Navy Pier.
On the eve of the city's celebration, fans of the team lined up around the block Tuesday to snag commemorative championship T-shirts.
People stood in line as early as 5 a.m. at Dick's Sporting Goods on Taylor and Canal to get their hands on a limited-edition piece of history.
"These are limited-edition shirts," fan Michael Mucci said. "I don't know if there will be any more coming out after this. This is once in a lifetime."
Some said they're buying shirts to get ready for Wednesday's parade. Others said they want to hold on to this memento of a historic Chicago summer and a team that stole the hearts of the country one base at a time.
I'm introducing the Jackie Robinson West Little League Team aka #TEAMUSA aka OUR CHAMPIONS at the parade tmw.
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) August 27, 2014
"My mom is 80 years old and she says she's coming to the parade tomorrow," fan Jarvis Moffett said. "I'm getting her a shirt today. I was a Little League player back in the day, and I feel like I'm a part of this. This is a movement. I love it."
Ahead of Wednesday's festivities, JRW players Marquis Jackson and Josh Houston got fresh haircuts at Clipper Daddy's barbershop.
"It was a fun experience," Marquis Jackson said of the series. "I don't think I realize what we've done. I think I'll realize it in the future."
Josh Houston said he appreciates all the support from fans and the city but said he's still anticipating getting back to school and normalcy.
"I want to see my friends and hope that it all goes back to regular life," he said.
In the meantime, city crews were working Tuesday around Jackie Robinson Park where a rally will take place Wednesday morning before the parade sets off, making five stops along Halsted including U.S. Cellular Field, and ending with a party at Millennium Park.
"They have no clue how big this is right now," Coach Jerry Houston said. "Five, 10, 15 years they'll realize this is kinda huge. They've set a milestone."
For player Marquis Jackson and his family there was a logical choice for dinner Tuesday night -- Home Run Inn Pizza.
He's already looking ahead to Wednesday parade and rally.
"I think it's gonna be like the Blackhawks and we just won the Stanley Cup," Jackson said.
He's been catching up with family and friends and getting used to being in the spotlight, but he does crave a bit of normalcy.
"I like this life. but Im looking forward to being a normal kid again and hang out with my friends all the time," Jackson said.
His mother, Linda Sneed, will be there to make sure things go smoothly, and she already inserted a heavy dose of normalcy by taking him to buy his 7th grade uniform.
"I let him know that he's blessed, he's a blessed child. And well loved," Sneed said.